GP processing can be performed asynchronously or synchronously. Asynchronous processing can occur on other threads, and thus the processing happens much quicker. Synchronous processing threads wait for one process to complete before they start. You can customize the behavior of GP processing, but you would consider this only for specialized applications in which you need to apply the GP as quickly as possible. The rule is that, for speed, use asynchronous processing; for reliability, use synchronous processing.
Although the latter rule worked well for Windows 2000, the Windows XP operating system muddies the GP pool a bit. Windows XP is designed to start up fast when GP is applied asynchronously, and thus it can start up too fast. Users may therefore be on their desktops and working before all policy is applied. Have no fear, because that does not mean that while your user is working, some policy, such as folder redirection, comes along 10 minutes into a document edit and whips the word-processing file away from the user's fingertips. Some policies — and folder redirection is one of them — are not processed synchronously.
One annoying issue with Windows XP and asynchronous processing is how software distribution is affected. If you assign applications to workstations, you may need to force the user to log on and off numerous times before the software policy takes root and the software is installed. This is not a cool scenario if your idea of software distribution is that the software is installed now and not after the user logs off for the whole morning just to pick up another new application.
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